Transcriptome analysis identifies genes involved in sex determination and development of Xenopus laevis gonads

Rafal P. Piprek, Milena Damulewicz, Malgorzata Kloc, Jacek Z. Kubiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Development of the gonads is a complex process, which starts with a period of undifferentiated, bipotential gonads. During this period the expression of sex-determining genes is initiated. Sex determination is a process triggering differentiation of the gonads into the testis or ovary. Sex determination period is followed by sexual differentiation, i.e. appearance of the first testis- and ovary-specific features. In Xenopus laevis W-linked DM-domain gene (DM-W) had been described as a master determinant of the gonadal female sex. However, the data on the expression and function of other genes participating in gonad development in X. laevis, and in anurans, in general, are very limited. We applied microarray technique to analyze the expression pattern of a subset of X. laevis genes previously identified to be involved in gonad development in several vertebrate species. We also analyzed the localization and the expression level of proteins encoded by these genes in developing X. laevis gonads. These analyses pointed to the set of genes differentially expressed in developing testes and ovaries. Gata4, Sox9, Dmrt1, Amh, Fgf9, Ptgds, Pdgf, Fshr, and Cyp17a1 expression was upregulated in developing testes, while DM-W, Fst, Foxl2, and Cyp19a1 were upregulated in developing ovaries. We discuss the possible roles of these genes in development of X. laevis gonads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Gonad
  • Gonad development
  • Ovary
  • Sex determination
  • Testis
  • Xenopus
  • Up-Regulation
  • Xenopus laevis
  • Transcriptome
  • Male
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Gonads/growth & development
  • Animals
  • Sex Determination Processes
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Female

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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